You have a magical internet box providing your business with an internet connection. You might even have an IT company or your own IT staff supporting it for you. But how do you know if it’s been setup securely? The simple answer is to get it checked by an IT security specialist.
Manufacturers of these magical internet boxes want to make it as easy as possible for you to get connected and that does not go hand in hand with being as secure as possible.
BT Home Hub 4 – protecting users since?
Over the security reviews that I have carried out for clients, I’ve found that IT generalists have done a good job of securing incoming connections but over 80% haven’t done anything to secure outgoing traffic. This means that if something bad has got into your network, it can do whatever it wants, talk to whoever it wants and send out whatever it wants, to wherever it wants.
What’s the chances of something bad getting into the network though, if incoming connections are locked down nice and tight? Very high! Current security best practice is to “presume you have been breached”. That means, presume there is a bad guy or a bad bit of code lurking around your office\laptop. Why is this? It’s because you don’t have total control all the time, due to laptops and phones and tablets. Think about it, the laptop only spends, at most, 40 hours a week sitting on your network. That means for 76% of the time it is somewhere else. On a home network. On a clients’ network. Connected to McDonalds free Wi-Fi. And you have no idea what the security is like at those other locations.
This is why, as well as security on your magical internet box, you want a firewall on your laptops and again you want to make sure it’s been configured to be as secure as possible. Traditionally IT has kept away from locking down these host based firewalls, as no one wants to take a call from the MD at 10pm because they can’t get their email on the hotel Wi-Fi. However, there really is no excuse these days, especially if you are a company that makes use of cloud services (office365, googledocs, dropbox, that sort of thing) as they all work over the same channel, which drastically cuts down on the complexity of setting up. Did you know that a computer has 64,000 channels of communications? How many do you use and how many have you got open? If you don’t know, I’d suggest that you ask someone to investigate.